Manuel Veth –
In three years, history will be made as to the first-ever winter World Cup takes place in Qatar. Having seen a hugely successful event take place in Russia last year, the race is on for the first-ever Middle Eastern World Cup to be ready. New stadiums are being built to host the biggest event on the football calendar.
The move from the usual summer slot to a winter setting has been made because of the extreme heat in Qatar over June and July, with temperatures hitting 41 degrees Celsius, according to an article on Medium.
That’s something at the forefront of the organiser’s minds, as the world’s attention turns to them. Some of the stadiums being built are making players and supporters safety a priority.
So let’s take a look at six of the stadiums set to host matches in 2022.
A ‘2018 World Cup Stadium Guide’ by Ladbrokes details how the famous Luzhniki had a capacity of 81,006. Qatar have seemingly taken that as a blueprint for their main stadium, with the Lusail set to hold 80,000 spectators when the tournament rolls around in 2022.
It’s currently under construction and is one of the grounds being erected purely for the tournament itself. It’ll host both the opening game and the final and will be connected to central Doha via a specially built metro line.
Khalifa International Stadium
One of the few existing stadiums in Qatar to feature on our ground guide, the Khalifa is smaller than the Lusail with a capacity of 48,000. By comparison, it’s closer in size to the Mordovia Arena which hosted four group games in last year’s tournament.
The Khalifa has been renovated and updated since it’s 1976 opening and will boast new technology, which makes it the first artificially cooled open-air stadium in the world. The temperature inside will remain at 63°F, whatever the heat is outside.
Al Bayt Stadium
The Al Bayt stadium has a unique design feature, with the roof made to look like the inside of a Bedouin tent. In the 2018 tournament, Samara Arena also experimented with a unique roof design, said to represent space exploration.
The Al Bayt’s roof will be fully retractable, opening and closing in 20 minutes. That will help with temperature control, keeping the crowd a little more comfortable as they watch the matches.
At 60,000-capacity it is likely to host matches in the later stages, being one of the only stadiums to have enough seats for a semi-final.
Al Janoub Stadium
Another arena with a roof inspired by local tradition is the 40,000 capacity Al Janoub Stadium. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the Fisht Olympic Stadium, which hosted six matches in 2018, including the agonizing defeat Russia suffered at the hands of Croatia.
The roof design is inspired by the sails of Dhow boats, used by pearl divers in the area. It will also boast cooling technology, which a Yahoo article confirms will keep the supporter areas at 17 degrees Celsius and the pitch at a slightly warmer 20 degrees Celsius.
Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
Another 40,000-capacity arena is the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, popularly known as the Al Rayyan Stadium. It is a new ground being built on the site of an existing structure, doubling the previous capacity, much like the Central Stadium of Yekaterinburg.
It will also boast a huge membrane media facade which will act as a screen for projections. It will likely feature news, commercials, and updates from the tournament.
Qatar Foundation Stadium
Another purpose-built stadium is Doha’s Qatar Foundation Stadium, also known as the Education City Stadium. It’s a ground which architects have attempted to make unique, with the jagged design intended to look like a diamond in the desert. It’s been labeled as ‘the Jewel of the Desert,’ according to an article by the Gulf Times.
It will also have a 40,000 capacity, making it eligible to host matches up to the quarterfinal stage of the competition. That will be reduced after the tournament, taking it down to 25,000.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.